One of the core principals of the MDU is that as a mutual, we're owned by our members. Another is that we are a 'doctors for doctors' organisation, staffed by experienced medical professionals who have direct experience of the issues faced in daily practice.
That means that we share your concerns about the issues that make a difference to you and your work. It also means we're able to share our medico-legal expertise with policy makers and opinion formers, to champion your interests and positively influence policy.
By representing your interests and giving a voice to your concerns, we can positively influence government, regulatory and legislative policy to make sure you are being represented, listened to and heard.
Below are just a few examples of recent campaigns where the MDU has been able to lend your voice to the debates and make a difference.
Clinical negligence costs
The MDU is campaigning for the government to reform the legal system surrounding clinical negligence litigation.
This unreformed system is out of control. A recent Treasury report showed that clinical negligence claims are now worth £3,600 for every household in England, compared to £700 per household 10 years ago. The NHS in England is now facing outstanding claims of over £84 billion.
This is not because care is somehow less safe. It is because we have a medical negligence system that is unfair and unsustainable, and results in millions of pounds leaving the NHS - money that could otherwise be spent on more and better services for patients.
We're calling on the UK government to publish a package of legal reforms aimed at addressing this, starting with the repeal of a 1948 law that requires compensation to be paid on the basis of private care, rather than on NHS provision. This is outdated and diverts money away from the NHS.
In partnership with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, the MDU recently wrote to the prime minister about this, urging him to prioritise reform.
Members of the MDU have a powerful voice in this debate. If you'd like to find out more and join our campaign, visit the Fair compensation pages on our website.
You can also show your support by writing to your local MP, and your voice can help raise the profile of this issue in parliament. Here are some key points you may wish to highlight, and you can find the contact details for your local MP here.
By representing your interests and giving a voice to your concerns, we can positively influence government, regulatory and legislative policy
Proposals for reform to healthcare professional regulation
After many years of campaigning for the government to reform healthcare professional regulation in the UK - particularly the GMC and GDC - we are delighted that the Department for Health and Social Care have now published detailed proposals.
The government is consulting on its proposals and the MDU has submitted a detailed response to properly represent your interests.
Among the proposed changes is that fitness to practise (FTP) proceedings will be restructured, allowing for a greater number of cases to be closed without a tribunal. This could be a welcome reform, but we will be studying the details closely as they emerge. It is vital that any FTP reforms deliver fairness for healthcare professionals, and are both timely and robust.
The MDU has responded to the Ministry of Justice's consultation on reforming the law around judicial review.
As we explain in our submission, we're concerned that the reforms could limit claimants' ability claimants to right past wrongs - even if a court finds in their favour.
Explainer: what is a judicial review?
Judicial review is legal process through which a citizen or an organisation can challenge the decision of a public body or a piece of law.
In the case of doctors, this could refer to an individual challenging the decision of a regulator - such as challenging an FTP decision of the General Medical Council (GMC). The outcome of that decision affects them and them alone.
Equally, a judicial review could challenge a piece of government legislation - such as a coalition of charities challenging legislation to amend the law on abortion. The outcome of that decision could affect vast numbers of people.
The central purpose of judicial review is that a past error should be revisited. Therefore, we are deeply concerned by any move to allow for prospective-only remedies. If the court finds that something was not done properly, to the detriment of the claimant, a successful judicial review should require the defendant to go back and repair the damage caused by their maladministration - and if necessary, begin afresh.
The most important point we emphasised in our response is that retrospective remedies must remain an option regardless of any legislative reforms the government brings forward. Prospective-only remedies, if allowed, should be entirely discretionary for the right type of case, in the right circumstances.